Archive Making Maternal Choice a Reality. By Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna

Making Maternal Choice a Reality. By Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna


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MMThe just concluded 68th United Nations General Assembly which took place in New York, recorded great sucess in the fight towards reducing maternal mortality and improving maternal care. Billions of Dollars was committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals 4/5/6 which focus on women empowerment, and improving the lives of women around the world. In all of these, international collaboration to improve the quality of life for women and maternal issues concerning them. Still many women are far from benefiting from these collaboration and negotiations on their behalf.

The culture,tradition and religion of people are responsible for how they make decisions.

In such societies, women are constrained with this belief system that makes family planning, a taboo for a woman to decide how she wants to space her children because it is believed that children are gifts from God.

The women have no choice than to reproduce as much as they can.

This lack of planning in childbirth results in poor spacing between one child and the other, and these children lacking adequate maternal care.

Not only would the child lack maternal care but the mother’s body begins to diminish in strength and vigour.

The ability of a woman to make the right maternal choice is of immense benefit to the society.

The woman is strong and healthy to take care of the child and support the home with her work or business.

Family planning is a wise maternal choice that helps a woman choose how she wants to raise her children.

During my visit to the US last year,I got talking with a friend and she told me she does not observe her monthly menstrual cycle and for me that sounds weird.

You mean you don’t menstruate, I asked her? And she laughed and replied, Yes with a poker face. Then she explained to me how she has been making wise maternal choices since her 7 years of marriage. I was suprised and asked,so how do you get pregnant? I have a family planning process, I have been on for a couple of years. After having my first child, I went on it for three years and when my husband and I decided we wanted another child,I went off the plan. According to her, a visit to her doctor gave a wide variation of options to choose from and best suited for her body was implemented.


For me it was an eye-opener. What a way to make maternal choices with adequate spacing and time to plan for the next pregnancy.

How many married women have this privileged knowledge? and how are their husbands working with them to make such maternal choices?

The more women are been perceived as an object of procreation, the more rate of maternal and child mortality of which Nigeria is a victim.

Back home I was chatting with a colleague who just gave birth and in a lighter mood I said “hope your son would not have a younger sibling soonest. And she replied “I don’t think that is possible anytime soon because I have it worked out”. How can you have it worked out? If oga won do you no go do? Oga go do she said,that one no be problem.

My curiousity got a better part of me and I decided to ask further. My friend told me that after her delivery, she went on a 5-year family planning that won’t enable her conceive till after then. I want to have time to raise my kids and also grow in my career. This is not a time for breeding children anyhow without any concrete plan on how they would be raised. I want my children to have good education and the best I can offer them. Education is not cheap my sister, so one has to plan and space the kids. If not, raising children would be a burden instead of a blesing, she concluded.

Hmmm,I thought to myself. How many women around the world are making such wise and strategic maternal choice? How many are not forced by tradition and culture to become child breeders instead of mothers?

We need to support our daugthers,wives,nieces,cousins,aunties to make the right maternal choice. Remember women are the mothers of the earth.



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